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Alice in Bedis a free dramatic fantasy which merges the life of Alice James, the brilliant sister of William and Henry James, with the heroine of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. It is a play about the anguish and grief and rage of women; and about the triumphs and limitations of the imagination.
Susan Sontag was the author of four novels, including In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction; a collection of stories; several plays; and seven works of nonfiction. She died in New York City on December 28, 2004.read more
A very dark, whimsical play fashioned after the Alice from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." There are references to symmetrical story-lines scattered through-out the play, at times subtle and at times obvious (for example, a Mad Tea Party).The Alice of this book, Alice James, was an actual person related to Henry James. Sontag references Giselle and Wagner by putting their characters into her play. She also has Emily Dickinson, the famous female poet, attend Alice's tea party. The author also references Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" in the after-note on the play, which apparently greatly influenced her work.I personally thought this book pointless and trying far too hard to be brilliant. The including of other literature to draw and expound upon can be genius at times, but I felt that here the author decided to do so in an attempt to elevate her book's relevance and appeal to literary fans, without ever thinking it through or even coming up with any point to it.This play is imaginative, and the writing does resemble "Alice in Wonderland," as obviously was the point of the entire play.However, I personally did not enjoy this one.read more
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Sontag's ( The Volcano Lover ) first stage play focuses on Alice James, the invalid sister of Henry and William and, since Jean Strouse's acclaimed 1980 biography and the publication of her diary, a feminist icon. It is in the latter role that Sontag casts the bed-ridden Alice, and playing off her name, she suggests, too, another, more famous Alice of fiction--to the extent that the center of the play's action is a tea party. The tea party becomes a gathering of independent women of imagination: Emily Dickinson, Margaret Fuller, Myrtha from the ballet Giselle and, as the somnolent dormouse, Kundry from Wagner's Parsifal. Alice's doting brother Henry makes a couple of appearances as well. Unfortunately, although Sontag acknowledges that her work is ``a free fantasy based on a real person,'' none of the characters ever breathes with life; each lies flat on the page as a mouthpiece for Sontag's ideas about the imagination's dual role as liberator and jailer for a 19th-century woman of intelligence and about ``women's anguish and women's consciousness of self.'' Moreover, her dialogue is arch and literary. Regrettably, Sontag can add her name to a list of talented novelist-critics whose stage work disappoints. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved